U.S. retailers are slashing prices in a desperate bid to make money,
while new data on industrial production is sparking concerns about one
of Asia's leading economies.
Stores in the United States opened
early Friday, offering discounts of as much as 70 percent in hopes of
salvaging a disappointing holiday shopping season.
depend on sales in the weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday
Thursday, December 25 to make a profit for the year. But the research
firm ShopperTrak says customer visits to retail stores before Christmas
dropped 24 percent compared to last year. Another survey by
MasterCard's Spending Pulse finds retail sales plunged by as much as
There are also signs sliding demand is taking a toll on Japan's export-driven economy.
says industrial output plunged more than eight percent in November from
the previous month, the largest drop on record, prompting some
economists to warn the industrial production is "falling off a cliff."
ministry of economy, trade and industry says decreases in production of
transportation equipment, general machinery and electronics parts
contributed to the overall decline. And there are concerns demand is
unlikely to pick up soon.
Economists in the U.S., the world's
largest economy, warn the global recession is forcing Americans to
limit spending to products they really need. As a result, a industry
trade group, the International Council of Shopping Centers, says
retailers could experience the worst holiday shopping season in 40
Comscore, a company that tracks Internet sales, says consumers also appear to be spending less money online.
an economic meltdown that has battered the global economy, Palestinian
leaders say the Christmas holiday is giving one town a significant
In the West Bank town of Bethlehem, where Christians
believe Jesus was born, officials say hotels were booked and that
more than one million tourists will have visited the town by the end of
the year - the best showing in nearly a decade.
Russia's ruble hit a three-year low against the dollar, after officials
devalued the currency for the 11th time in the past two months.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.